The connection between smoking and films and TV shows media is just inseparable but many video games have also been portraying their characters being smokers.
These things in particular which why many people are worried about their teens. They are afraid such a depiction of cigarette smoking can encourage young players to smoke.
Cigarettes play a big role in video games and it is considered cool. Every time a character puts a cigar in his mouth, there is fear that it would impact the young players negatively.
Research from the USA showed all these. The smokers perceived these as daredevil protagonists in positions of power – and thus in some ways as role models.
Some studies have also shown that the depiction of tobacco in video games in the first decade of the century has increased from one percent to 12. Well, vaping is considered one of the best alternatives to tobacco smoking.
Many studies have proved that and it is available in with or without nicotine in various flavors at trusted online stores like www.smokingthings.com.
That is why many video games like Metal Gear Solid 5 and The Sims have even brought e-cigarette like items in the gameplay to diminish the use of tobacco cigarettes. Lets’ see how the depiction of cigarettes in the games can impact the gamers:
GamesAre More Influencing Than Other Media
It may sound strange but the games have even more influence on the smoking behavior of young people than films. Because the players would engage much more with the characters than film viewers.
A normal film viewer would spend 3-10 hours on a single film and the chances of seeing smoking in the film are 20-30%.
While in the case of video games, users invest more time and as they engage for a long time more chances of being influence have risen. One of the reasons is the replaying of the games for many days or months.
Inspection Agency Overlooks Cigarettes
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) also creates problems. This is a test center that is supposed to assess whether games contain “explicit language”, that is, bad words that are not intended for adults, or otherwise have a bad influence on young people.
According to the legal and official data, only eight percent of games were allowed to show smoking in their gameplay which were for adults but more than 40% of games have characters smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Should Tobacco Companies Be Blamed?
A study showed that many of the young video game players and fans would not smoke at all and that is why they don’t care about smoking in the game or smoker characters in the games.
But it is believed that the tobacco industry might be paying gaming studios a hefty fee to show smokers or cigarettes as a cool thing. However, there is no concrete evidence against this but the same case was with films so, this could be similar to video games as well.
Bottom Line – Solution
The first and the most important thing is that parents should be more responsible and they should pay attention to the games their kids are playing.
Another possible solution is to get assurance from the video game developers that they weren’t bribed by tobacco companies. The last but not least solution to make ESRB more independent and effective by investing budget into it.